Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Things Fall Apart

I had never imagined one day I’d find myself smack in the middle of a domestic dispute with the mother of my youngest son. But here I am, with a relationship turned sour in the rear-view mirror, a precocious young boy seemingly caught in the middle. I’m searching for ways to redirect the constant exchange of insults and innuendos, the defamation being traded between us.
I have always regarded myself as a positive thinking brother; I just didn’t believe in allowing negativity – and negative people! – into my private domain. I’m still scratching my head as to how it happened.
Lately, though, my thoughts have turned outward to the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of black fathers across America, missing in the lives of their kids or who at one time may have been involved in promising relationships with the mothers of their children, but through some breakdown in communication, some odious inability to work things out, things, to quote the venerable Achebe, fall apart, the center cannot hold.
So now that I am a member – a card carrying member, apparently – of this club, I speak from where I am.
Brothers, there is only one person caught in the cross-fire of contempt between you and the mother of your child or children: your offspring. Isn’t it funny how two people who claim to be adults can’t call a truce in the interests of those little ones who never asked to be caught up in the riff-raff in the first place?
A part of me hurts. Or maybe all of me hurts, yet is divided into parts. One that pines for my son, his loveable ways, his adoring smile, the other that grieves the death of a relationship, the cessation of love, the end of the affair.
If I sound like I am waxing romantic here, it’s because I am. I cannot see love as anything but a tragic romance, even with its comedic tapestry. But the real tragedy is the stunted emotional crisis forced upon a young child.
Brothers, we cannot allow our crisis to become their crisis and, regrettably, so many of us have elected to fade from the scene rather than deal with the ignominious effects of lost love.
If you are a brother reading this, and love has long since died, know that there is a constant source of love in the eyes of your child or children, who yearn to connect, or reconnect, with you. If that doesn’t happen, a part of you will always be dead, a part of you will haunt that child and that, in spite of your wishes to inflict as much emotional pain onto the mother, will be the greater calamity of their lives – long after you leave the scene.
Fortunately I have today, while there is still a specter of hope and while I can still see clearly the ramifications of my actions. I will not allow my grievances with an individual who co-created my son, to shatter my future as a good father, indeed, as a good man. Things may indeed fall apart, but, when we consider what’s in the balance, the center must hold. A future depends on it.

Positive Thought for the Week

"Change is the engine of the empowered life; if you are not willing to tap into the wellspring of your existence, to accept change, you will never move beyond your present shores."

-Author unknown

Did You Know?

Between the 1970's and 1999 the rate of suicide among black males climbed from 7.9 per 100,000 in 1970 to 10.9in 1997, compared to a modest increase in the rate for all blacks during the same period. Furthermore, since the 1970's, the rate of increase in suicides among black males in their twenties has been alarmingly steady. Source: Lay My Burden Down, Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis among African Americans, Dr. Alvin Pouissant and Amy Alexander

Don't Believe the Hype!

Hype: Teenage pregnancy is a runaway problem in the African American community.

Fact: African Americans ages 15 to 19 experienced the steepest decline in birth rates—42 percent—from 118 per 1,000 women in 1991 to 68 in 2002. Among African Americans ages 15 to 17, birth rates dropped by 52 percent between 1991 and 2002.
Source: Advocates for Youth

The Literati: A Crisis in the Mental Health of Black America

Suicide has always been a hush-hush topic in the African-American community; nothing silences a conversation more suddenly than talk of someone who has taken their own life, whether a family member or friend. With the publication of Lay My Burden Down, Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis Among African-Americans in 2000, the veil of secrecy and inherited shame was lifted and the subject was put out in the public arena. Its authors, Dr. Alvin F. Poussaint and Amy Alexander, offer a convincing, cogent and relentlessly grievous account as to the myriad reasons so many African-Americans suffer from depression and other mental health issues and how those reasons lay the groundwork for the ultimate act of self-aggression: suicide. In particular, and certainly disturbing, is the suicidal trend of black males in America, which tripled between the 1980’s and the end of the twentieth-century, according to the authors. The common element of this trend is the loss of hope, a virtue that historically underpinned the ability of blacks to overcome the legacy of discrimination, segregation and unequal justice. Says Poussaint and Alexander: “…the realities of modern life have begun to undermine the historic adoptions, the coping strategies that are part of the African-American culture.” Lay My Burden Down requires the immediate and consistent attention from anybody who senses the urgency of self-destructive behaviors in a family member or friend and is a must-read for policy chieftains, church leaders and grass-roots organizations.

An Interview with Rev. James David Manning

This interview was conducted by W. Eric Croomes on Friday, October 31, 2008 regarding Manning's comments on Senator Barack Obama.

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About the Editor

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Arlington, Texas, United States
W. Eric Croomes is a writer and playwright based in Irving, Texas and a native of Phoenix, Arizona. Eric is a graduate of Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas, earning a Bachelor of Arts in religion and sociology and is founder and executive director of Millennium Men of Color, a non-profit black male advocacy group. In 2002, Eric self-published Dance in the Dark, Poetic Reflections on Love and Culture, a collection of his original poems and essays on love and relationship in the African-American tradition. Three to Eight, a play examining the hours when most teens become pregnant and most juvenile crime is committed, was Eric’s first theatrical release and debuted at the 2004 Black N Blues one act play festival at the African-American museum in Dallas. Brotha2Brotha, Becoming Healthy Men from the Inside Out, a spiritual primer for men of color, was released in September, 2006. Eric’s next book, Thoughts in Black and Male, is slated for release in spring 2008. COMING SOON: THEVILLAGEREPORT.NET Visit Eric at www.wericcroomes.com

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The Village Report with W. Eric Croomes is a registered trademark of The Apple Tree Group. All content authored by W. Eric Croomes is Copyrighted 2008.

January 19, 2008 issue of Golfweek Magazine

January 19, 2008 issue of Golfweek Magazine
and I didn't say 1958!